Watching the first inning of Tuesday’s Rays/Yankees game, I noticed Wade Davis bounce a fastball during a sequence against Alex Rodriguez. That’s certainly not something you’ll see too often, so I checked my PITCH-f/x data to see how often fastball are thrown in the dirt.
Gameday identifies pitches in the dirt with a “ball in dirt” or “swinging strike (blocked)” tag (the latter if the pitch is swung at). The data below show these two fields as a percentage of total pitches and are for 2011 only.
Disclaimer: Following Dan Turkenkopf’s catcher block percentage pieces on Beyond the Box Score a few years ago, some discussion was generated about the Gameday’s “in dirt” fields. As is often the case with stringer data, the tags are far from perfect, so please keep that in mind.